Canadian citizens or permanent residents may sponsor certain foreign relatives for permanent residence in Canada. While a boyfriend, girlfriend or fiancé cannot be directly sponsored to Canada, such individuals can potentially qualify to be sponsored if certain actions are taken. The relevant types of family sponsorship that may be possible in the future include:
In order to be considered eligible to sponsor your non-Canadian boyfriend or girlfriend, you need to show that:
- you’re at least 18 years old;
- you’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act;
- you can provide for the basic needs of any persons you want to sponsor.
Once you have demonstrated your ability to sponsor an individual, the next step is to demonstrate whether they fall under the common-law partner category or the conjugal partner category.
Sponsoring a Spouse
A spousal relationship is a marital relationship. A Canadian can sponsor his or her wife or husband for permanent residence in Canada. The couple need to show that they are legally married. The marriage can be conducted in any country around the world, and will be recognized by the immigration authorities for sponsorship purposes, provided that it does not conflict with Canadian law.
Sponsoring a Common-Law or Conjugal Partner
You may be able to sponsor a common-law partner if that person:
- is at least 18 years old,
- has been living with you for at least 12 consecutive months. This means that you have been living together continuously for one (1) year.
You may be able to sponsor a conjugal partner if that person:
- is at least 18 years old;
- isn’t legally married to you or in a common-law relationship with you;
- has been in a relationship with you for at least 1 year;
- lives outside Canada;
- can’t live with you in their country of residence or marry you because of significant legal and immigration reasons.
Note that the conjugal partner category is considered an exception category for couples who cannot marry and cannot live together. It is not intended to facilitate the sponsorship of fiancés or boyfriends and girlfriends.
For all of the spouse, common-law and conjugal partner sponsorships, you will need to provide evidence that demonstrates the genuineness of your relationship.
What Can I Do If My Boyfriend or Girlfriend Do Not Fit in These Categories?
If your relationship does not qualify as a marital, common-law or conjugal relationship, you will not be able bring your significant other to Canada through the sponsorship process. However, there may be other options available for them to come to Canada, such as applying for temporary resident visa (TRV).
Examples of temporary resident visas include:
- applying for a visitor visa,
- applying for a work permit,
- applying for a study permit.
Once accepted, your boyfriend or girlfriend will be able to enter Canada and remain in Canada for a specified period of time provided that they also comply with the conditions provided under the specific TRV – for instance, a person with a visitor visa can stay in Canada for up to 6 months and is not allowed to work during that time.
Certain countries are considered “visa-exempt”, meaning that a person coming to Canada from that specific country does not need to apply for a visa to enter Canada. Rather, that person can enter Canada with an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if travelling by air. Examples of visa-expect countries include the USA, Mexico, most European countries, Australia, Japan, and Korea. However, it is important to note that entry through eTA does NOT grant automatic permanent residence, and still requires complying with TRV conditions.
How Can We Help
The Law Office of Matthew Jeffery, has over 20 years of experience in guiding individuals through the entire sponsorship process from start to finish to ensure success. Fill out our free Family Sponsorship Assessment form to see if we can help you sponsor your spouse or partner to Canada.